Interview with James Bevel

Sounds to me like you think that the failing of the movement then was in the area of education.


Well, yeah. It's an area of the application of nonviolence to what is the next problem. In other words, see, the movement is a dialogue, you know, and so you've got to follow the logic of the dialogue. So you say, well, look, man says now I've taken a bath, the next move put my clothes on. Well, now, you've got to put your clothes on because you've finished your bath. Ain't nothing else to do. So you can't pretend like you haven't finished your bath, and you ain't gonna put your clothes on. So we come to a point where the government say, OK, yeah, people can vote. Now the next step is, OK, now that the people can vote, then let's make sure we do what needs to be done so people can responsibly handle that vote. Now if you don't follow through on that, then you're not going to get the kind of growth and strength and development, and clarity and the lack of fear. And the intimidation and harassment and the age-old hostilities can be dissolved if you go through an educational process, see. And I think when we didn't do that, I think, we let the people down and we violated the nonviolent movement, and we violated our constitution of responsibility. We was as church, as a church, as a Southern Christian Leadership Conference, as ministers, as American citizens—you have a responsibility to follow through on that kind of work 'cause that's a constitutional proposition. And when we didn't follow through, I think that injured people, and it injured the movement, it injured and it lessened the dynamic and the potency of the democratic process


That was a camera roll-out on 556. OK, this is room tone.